Marines looking to replace the SAW with an “Infantry Automatic Rifle”. They’re citing the issues with the M249’s weight and accuracy, and looking to replace it with a lighter, more accurate automatic rifle. According to the linked article, the new IAR would utilize the same 30 round STANAG magazines that the M16/M4 uses.
I have mixed feelings about this – on the one hand, no one wants to lug a 22 pound SAW around. On the other hand, if I were an infantry platoon commander, I would hate to lose the ability to put out the sheer volume of fire that you can do with said M249 and a 200 round belt.
I do find it amusing though that squad automatic weapon concept has come full circle. Starting with the Browning Automatic Rifle (BAR), which used the standard service cartridge at the time, it evolved into the M60, then the M249, and now the circle has been completed with the push towards the Infantry Automatic Rifle…which is essentially the same concept as a BAR, just updated for modern equipment and ammo.